Egyptian policeman accused of fabricating drug charges referred to trial - source

Saturday 05-03-2016 05:03 PM

Police man in front of the Interior Ministry headquarters in Cairo - REUTERS

CAIRO, Mar 5 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt's top prosecutor referred a policeman to trial on Saturday on accusation of fabricating drug charges in an incident that occurred in November, a judicial source said.

The prosecution charged him with drug possession and "abuse of his position as a government employee to commit forgery in an official document," the source told Aswat Masriya.

The policeman is purported to have beaten a driver in the gated compound of Dreamland, on the outskirts of Cairo and accused the civilian of ramming his car, an eyewitness said. Afterwards, the policeman allegedly forged a complaint against the driver, accusing him of possessing heroin.    

The behaviour of Egyptian police has been the subject of local and international scrutiny in recent months after numerous encounters that sparked public outrage. Human rights groups including Human Rights Watch says there is a culture of impunity prevalent in dealing with cases of police abuse.

Last month alone, two of those encounters sparked protests on the streets of Cairo, an expression of anger that has become rare in the past two years.

In one incident, a doctor claimed in a video that he and a colleague were dragged and beaten by nine low-ranking policemen as they attempted to provide medical care to one of them. In the other incident, a man was shot dead on Feb. 18 after a dispute between him and a policeman. Both issues were at the time nationwide topics.

In November alone, at least three people were killed while in custody, in alleged cases of police violence in three different parts of Egypt.

But on Dec. 3, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said that the number of cases of police misconduct is small compared to the number of police stations nationwide.

Policemen have rarely been convicted in such cases on the few occasions that charges are pressed against them in the first place. Even if convicted once, in many cases the sentences were overturned during appeals.

Egypt is currently amending the police law based on orders from Sisi last month to introduce legislations to control police performance on the street and to hold accountable anyone who violates citizens' rights.   

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